Communist China is reportedly planning to turn hundreds of retired Cold War fighter jets into suicide drones that could be used for a massive attack on Taiwan.
China’s last Chengdu &-7 fighter jets may leave active service this year and some may be converted into drones, according to state media.
Experts believe the weapons would be relatively cost effective and capable, reported Business Insider.
The drones would have similar characteristics to the original planes and reduce the number of China’s casualties.
According to Daniel Rice, a non-resident at the Michell Institute, unmanned combat vehicles, or drones, make it possible for the Chinese to use “relatively cheap, capable, low-risk airframes as a first in asset to either strike or soften Taiwan’s air defense systems’.
The planes are copies of the Soviet MiG-21 from the 1960s, which were sometimes known as “grandpa jets.”
China’s version of the panes came with multiple manufacturing defects including a limited fuel capacity and only one gun, they were still mass produced by 1980s and used in other countries such as Pakistan, Albania, Egypt, Iraq, and Iran.
The Chinese States Sponsored newspaper Global Times said: “The retired J-7s could be reserved for training and testing, or they could be modified to become drones and play new roles in modern warfare.”
Back in 2021 the Old J-7s were flown next to the more modern J-6 planes in exercises near Taiwan, leading to speculation they had already been turned into drones.
This comes as China expands its military amid heightened tension in the region after the US Shot down a 200ft spy Balloon that was caught flying across the United States.
According to the Pentagon, China now has the world’s third-largest aviation force and has almost 400 J-7s left in use.
Last week nearly two dozen Chinese military aircrafts were seen in the Taiwan straight.
Taiwan has responded to China’s aggression and threats with ordering more defensive weaponry from the US.
Taiwan has been governed independently from mainland China since a 1949 civil war, but President XI Jinping’s Chinese Communist Party claims the island is part of “One China” and has made no bones about its intentions relain the territory.
The following is from The Daily Mail:
Beijing has accused Taiwan of using the US and other Western allies to bolster its efforts to maintain independence, and insists the US is manipulating Taiwan to ‘contain’ Chinese influence.
Taiwanese support for independence meanwhile is overwhelming. According to a December 2022 poll conducted by the National Chengchi University, less than three percent of Taiwanese citizens wants to reunify with China immediately, and only five percent think Taiwan should unify at some point in the future.
A string of visits in recent months by foreign politicians to Taiwan, including by then-US house speaker Nancy Pelosi and numerous politicians from the European Union, spurred displays of military might from both sides.
The Pentagon is more closely scrutinizing US airspace and authorities are not ruling out that there may be more shoot downs in coming days after the spy balloon.
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